Campus: CSU, Fullerton -- January 22, 2001


Chemistry Professor Named Winner of Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award

Dr. Fu-Ming Tao, Cal State Fullerton associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and mentor to university and high school students, is one of five professors in the nation to receive the 2000 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. He is the only recipient of this national honor from west of the Mississippi.

The Brea resident specializes in the computational investigation of atmospheric oxidation chemistry of volatile organic compounds, which supports air pollution research. Outstanding young chemistry professors who have completed five to eight years of service at a college or university are eligible for the award.

Tao received the honor the first year he was eligible, and was named along with peers from Carnegie Mellon University, Furman University, Swathmore College and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The Fullerton scientist also has been honored for his work in mentoring Troy High School chemistry students in a summer intern program he has directed for three years.

As a measure of Tao's successful work with these students, Troy student Bob Cherng received an award of $25,000 from Intel Corporation's Intel Science Talent Search for a project completed in Tao's lab in 1999. The results have been published in the Journal of Chemical Physics. The annual Science Talent Search, now in its 60th year, is the nation's oldest and most highly respected science competition. Intel has been the major sponsor since 1998.

Two other Troy students, Akash Pravin Kansagra and Tejas Jayanti Patel, both 17, were named semifinalists in the 2000-2001 Intel Science Search competition for projects they completed in Tao's lab this past summer. Each student received a $1,000 prize. Troy High School also received a matching prize of $2,000. The students were two of four students from Southern California so honored.

Program participants have gone on to study at such schools as Caltech, MIT and the University of Chicago, as well as Cal State Fullerton.

The Dreyfus award includes a check for $60,000. Of this amount, $5,000 is to be used by the CSUF chemistry and biochemistry department for undergraduate educational purposes. Tao said he would use his award to continue his research and undergraduate research activities.

Tao joined the Cal State Fullerton faculty in 1995. Previously he was a research associate at Harvard and Brown universities. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Boston University in 1991, and B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry from universities in China. He has authored or co-authored 65 papers or articles since 1991, has made nearly 30 presentations at scientific conferences and has been awarded a number of research grants. His last major presentation was at the 10th International Congress of Quantum Chemistry held last June in Menton, France.

"The Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award places you among a select group of scientists," noted Dr. Robert H. Lichter, executive director of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Inc., in a letter to Tao. "Not only have you displayed continuing dedication to education of undergraduates, but you have also demonstrated outstanding scientific accomplishments. The award is presented to you in acknowledgement of both these aspects of advancing the chemical sciences and in the expectation that you will continue to be a leader in the research and non-research components of chemistry education."

Media Contacts:

Dr. Fu-Ming Tao, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, at (714) 278-4517 or ftao@fullerton.edu

Dave Reid, CSUF Public Affairs, at (714) 278-4855 or dreid@fullerton.edu


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